Plant orders for spring were made in the boredom of winter, long before I became aware of the pandemic that now keeps many of us off the streets and out of public places. Local garden centers are now booming, and I’ve made several purchases (so far), but a number of the oddities I enjoy so much were purchased from mail order nurseries across the country. Orders trickled in beginning in late February, with regularity until this week when the last of the orders is scheduled.
Thankfully, I’m still working, and while I’ve complained in recent decades that I’m too busy to enjoy the spring, this one is different. The garden is a greater pleasure, and yes, the weather has been splendid for the most part, but family and personal pleasures seem more important today. Whenever it’s not raining I can be found outdoors, somewhere, and it seems that any time my wife goes looking for me she heads in the wrong direction. In this mature garden the sight lines don’t stretch far, so it’s easy to be lost, which is fine with me.
I think the best has been the last of the deliveries, and today the Wheel tree (Trochodendron aralioides, above) and a variegated clethra (Clethra barbinervis ‘Takeda nishiki’, below) were delivered. The wheel tree will replace an Alaskan cedar that faded over several years in increasing shade, though replacing is somewhat a misnomer when an eighteen inch shrub is planted in place of a thirty foot tall evergreen.
The reason for the radical change was dictated by my wife, who rejoiced as the Alaskan cedar was carefully felled, miraculously placed exactly along a stone path so that not a leaf of neighboring Japanese maples and assorted shrubs was damaged. In fact, while cutting the cedar into pieces I carelessly stomped on a third of a daphne, breaking it, but no other damage was done. The last time I cut up a tree fallen, not far from this spot, involved a trip to the emergency room, so thankfully this task was completed with much less drama (and less loss of blood).
In any case, once the Alaskan cedar was down, cut into pieces and hauled off, my wife commented how nice it was to look out the kitchen window and see something besides the green of the cedar. Then, she forbade that anything be planted outside the window taller than a daffodil, which I told her would not work since the area is too shaded for daffodils, and besides, at least one thing a bit taller was needed for this space.
So, I came upon the wheel tree, and hopefully there is just enough sun to satisfy the already slow growing shrub. Of course, in order not to further provoke my wife, I will refrain from calling the wheel tree a tree, and certainly it will grow slowly enough that she and I are likely to be dead and gone by the time it obstructs the view from the kitchen window.
So, my spring is going well despite the problems of today’s world. I’m planting, and that’s always satisfying. Some areas of the garden that were lacking just a bit have been filled. These look good today, so they should be so much better tomorrow.